Commentary

V6.135 VAT recovery and other practical points for barristers and advocates

Part V6 Business by business

V6.135 VAT recovery and other practical points for barristers and advocates

V6.135 VAT recovery and other practical points for barristers and advocates

VAT recovery

COVID-19—impact on correspondence with HMRC

As a consequence of the outbreak of COVID-19 (coronavirus), the processing of paper forms, returns or correspondence in relation to barristers and advocates during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak may be delayed. HMRC has stated that it is working on a solution. For other HMRC measures in relation to COVID-19, see V1.405.

As explained in V6.134 the principal services supplied by barristers are standard-rated or outside the scope with the right to recover. As a general rule barristers can therefore recover all the input tax incurred to make these supplies, subject to the normal rules and exclusions. The rules around input tax recovery are addressed in Division V3.4 and input tax which is specifically excluded from credit (such as business entertainment) is described in V3.440–V3.450.

However, there are some quirks to VAT recovery which apply specifically to barristers and arise from the way they practise as sole practitioners and the need to differentiate between private and professional expenditure.

Chambers' expenses

Often expenditure is incurred for the chambers as a whole. This is to be contrasted with expenses which an individual member of a set of chambers incurs solely for their own practice. Normally VAT can only be recovered by the recipient of the supply (as described in V3.119 which explores the identity of parties to a supply). Where expenses are for the chambers as a whole there can be difficulties in identifying who has the right to recover

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